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From 15 Months

Doodle Bug
Now that she's developing her fine motor skills, your little one may be ready to put crayon to paper. Her beautiful, chaotic scribbles are the first step on the road to writing.

Good for age: 15 months (but older and younger kids might enjoy it, too!)
Skills developed: fine motor control, drawing, understanding cause and effect, colour identification
What you'll need: paper, masking tape, crayons
What to do: Tape some big sheets of thick paper onto the floor or a table and let your little one doodle to her heart's content. Start off with just a few crayons in primary colours so she doesn't get overwhelmed by choices. As she picks up each crayon, name its colour. (Hint: consider investing in washable crayons in case she decides to try her hand at wall murals while your back is turned.)

Shower your toddler's creations with praise. And don't forget to display her work! It will show her how much you value her efforts. Your toddler will love seeing what she can do with the funny little coloured sticks she used to chew on.
Scarf Dance
Dancing with your toddler is fun and adding scarves to the mix brings the entertainment to a whole new level. This game will be a hit with your 15-month-old, who's in a "milestone period", a time of very rapid development, and is particularly interested in moving in new and different ways.

Good for age: 15 months (but older and younger kids might enjoy it, too!)
Skills developed: gross motor skills, social play, language, colour identification, rhythm
What you'll need: A variety of music and several scarves. But save your woolly winter scarves for bundling up; light, brightly coloured scarves work best. You can also use handkerchiefs, cloth napkins, or bandanas.
What to do: Clear some space, turn the music on, and join your toddler on the floor. Drop the scarves at her feet, keeping one or two for yourself. As your child watches, make your scarf "dance" in time to the music. She might just observe for a while, or she may join in by shaking her own scarf.

As you dance with your scarves, try playing peekaboo in time with the music. Place a scarf over your head and let her grab it. Or drape one on her head and let her pull it off.

Change the music so that you can try different tempos. Float your scarves gracefully for slow music and jiggle them jauntily for quicker music. Work on colours by saying, "Do you want a turn with the blue one?" or "Is Mummy under this pink scarf?"

Finally, try a little teamwork by letting her hold one end of the scarf while you hold the other, and dance in place or around the room. You can also hold her in your arms while you dance with a big scarf, swirling it back and forth around the two of you.

When you've finished, encourage your child to help you put the scarves in a bag. And keep the bag in a handy place (but not one where your toddler can get to it). As your child continues her rapid growth, she'll enjoy playing this game again and again, and she'll find all kinds of inventive ways to dance with the scarves.

Note: scarves and other long, string-like objects pose a strangulation hazard, so watch your child carefully and never leave her alone with them.

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